It was my 7th and 8th grade English teacher at Newtown Middle School, Mrs. Kolesar, who gave me the idea that I had talent as a writer. From then on, when anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d respond, “a writer.”
I wasn’t sure what I’d write about, but it’s what I wanted to do. The advice I was given – “write what you know” – made a lot of sense to me, but I didn’t feel like I knew anything. Fact is, for a very long time, I didn’t even know myself.
And so I spent most of my career playing at writing, much like I spent most my adult life playing at weight loss. And the reasons for both were pretty same: I didn’t think I could actually do it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually made a living as a writer. In New York City even.
I served in various editorial roles at several trade magazines that covered the plastics industry. Yes, plastics. I spent 17 years in plastics and if I had a nickel for every time someone mentioned the movie, “The Graduate,” when I told them what I did, I’d be a millionaire.
I moved to Southeastern Connecticut in 1997 when I married my husband, Tim. At the same time I accepted the position of Editor-in-Chief for a plastics trade magazine based in Florida and worked out of my home. In 2003 the magazine was sold to a company in California that already had a staff in place. All of a sudden, I was out of a job and my life in plastics was over (sob!). At the time, I didn’t think I knew how to do anything other than write about plastics. On a deeper level, what I really felt was that I didn’t know how to do anything.
I was in such a state, feeling like such a fraud, and I said, “I will never write again.” I was also at my heaviest.
So, I spent a couple of years doing other things, rediscovering myself, and re-igniting my desire to write. In the process, I shed 55 pounds and gained the confidence I needed to understand that I could do more than regurgitate the benefits and features of plastics manufacturing equipment.
In 2005 I embarked on a freelance writing career with clients ranging from hospice organizations to sheet metal fabricators to a local college. I also became a regular contributor at two local magazines. I discovered that I did indeed know more than just plastics.
And as I got to know myself, I realized that I did indeed have something to say, that it was valuable, and that I wanted to share it – to be heard.
It began with this blog at the beginning of 2009. If you’ve been following along since then, you know I started writing after having regained half the weight I lost. It was my intention to prove that if I could accept and truly love myself, then my body (mind and spirit) would respond in kind.
When I first started writing, I had no idea where it would lead. About six months into it I envisioned a book. And the more I wrote, the more I could see it. I wasn’t sure how it would end because I realized that “this” never ends! I figured that when the time was right, the end would come to come, and it did.
AFTER (the before & after) is now available in paperback and as an ebook. Based on this blog, the book also includes some additional information, back-story, and resources. Clicking on the link will take you to my publisher’s page, where you can read excerpts from the book!